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Bigler, Brian J.; Mudrey, Lynn Martinson / The Norway Building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair : a building's journey from Norway to America : an architectural legacy

From grand exposition to private estate,   pp. 28-35 PDF (2.3 MB)

Page 29

As quickly as the curtain opened on the great World's Fair of 1893,
the grand finale came all too soon. Official closing of the Fair took
place on Sunday, October 29, 1893. An early frost had already
tainted the image of the beautiful grounds, by snuffing the attractive floral
plantings. Work crews were already dismantling smaller structures and
removing banners. In the weeks following the Exposition's closing, a mul-
titude of auction notices appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Times
and other publications offering for sale, among other things, the grand
and wonderful buildings of the World's Fair.
Several of the States' buildings found new homes. Two or more
returned to the states of their origins; still others were sold as scrap. Of
the national buildings, the German Building remained at Jackson Park and
become a restaurant, which burned in 1925. The Japanese Phoenix Hall
would also remain there; it also burned in 1945. The Ceylon Building was
dismantled and moved to private property at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in
1894. It remained there until it was torn down in 1958, and its structural
elements sold. The Norway Building was not sold at open auction as many
of its counterparts had been; instead, it seems, closed bids were taken. A
small notice which appeared in the November 30, 1893 issue of the
Chicago Tribune read in part, "The Norwegian Building has been sold to
C.K.G. Billings for $1,500, and will be taken apart and reconstructed on
his place at Geneva Lake."1
Cornelius Kinsland Billings (C.K.G. for short) was president of the
People's Gas Light and Coke Company of Chicago, a position passed on
to him by his father in 1887, when he was just 25 years old. Amongst

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